BMW M3 GTR to celebrate its comeback.

Munich (GER), 7 December 2002. The BMW M3 GTR is gearing up for a comeback. BMW will be lining up two of these sports cars on the starting grid of the 2003 Nürburgring 24 Hour Race on 31 May/1 June. The two German factory drivers Jörg Müller (33) and Dirk Müller (27) have already been nominated to man the cars; the other drivers are yet to be announced.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen comments: "This event is developing very positively, and with the BMW M3 GTR we have a car capable of pitching for overall victory. The decision to take part was made after clarification of questions of regulations and following our own tests on the Nordschleife in early November."

BMW Motorsport Director Gerhard Berger adds: "We also regard this involvement as our contribution to one of Germany's most traditional motorsport events."

Both drivers and cars will be in the best possible hands: the BMW works team of Schnitzer Motorsport led by team manager Charly Lamm will run the competition effort together with technical staff from BMW Motorsport. Under the direction of strategist Lamm, BMW touring cars have already claimed two overall victories at the 24 Hour Race on the Nürburgring as well as securing five triumphs in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) and one in the 24-hour classic at Le Mans (FRA) in 1999 with the open-topped BMW V12 LMR prototype.

Since the premiere of the Nürburgring 24 Hour Race in 1970, a BMW has crossed the finishing line 16 times as overall winner, most recently in 1998. On that occasion the BMW 320d became the first diesel-powered touring car to win a marathon event of this kind.

The BMW M3 GTR, which will be fielded on the Nürburgring in 2003, was originally developed to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The muscular coupé made its debut in that event in 2001 and swept the board: Jörg Müller won the Drivers' championship, BMW Motorsport came top in the Team classifications, and BMW won the Manufacturers' title in the company's most important export market.

The four-litre V8 engine of the BMW M3 GTR provides an output in excess of 400 bhp. It is a short-stroke, high-speed, compact powerplant that follows entirely in the tradition of M engines. A specially developed chassis, optimized aerodynamics and a strategic lightweight design with carbon-fibre body components make this M3 into an impressive GT sports car.